8900.1 CHG 345



Section 12  Part S—Voluntary Data Submission

3-18-12-1    GENERAL. Part S is issued to each certificate holder who conducts Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR) part 121 operations. The section is designed to collect information using the Web‑based Operations Safety System (WebOPSS) format, but it is not an actual regulatory operations specification (OpSpec). Although this paragraph is required for all certificate holders per the WebOPSS guidelines, its completion by the certificate holders is completely voluntary. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) digital signature by the certificate holder’s principal inspector (PI) only represents acceptance of the data and does not signify an authorization or approval. The information gathered here is intended only for use in evaluating industry‑wide, safety-related issues and is not intended to reflect regulatory compliance.

NOTE:  No answers to these questions should be construed as approval by the FAA. There will be several Part S Safety Enhancement (SE) templates for certificate holders to enter data for de‑identified analysis.


A.    Collecting SE Data. In the wake of several accidents in the 1990s, the United States (U.S.) Government and key industry stakeholders established the joint government‑industry CAST in 1998. To reduce the U.S. commercial aviation fatality rate, CAST uses an integrated, data-driven strategy that targets specific areas for improvement in both operations and airworthiness. Teams then develop SEs in these areas. By implementing the most promising SEs, CAST helped reduce the U.S. commercial air travel fatality rate by 83 percent. CAST has requested that part 121 certificate holders use WebOPSS to collect voluntary SE reporting. This system is normally used for operator authorizations, and, as such, those OpSpecs are considered regulatory documents. The Technical Programs Branch (AFS-260) has developed a new WebOPSS category, Part S, to collect selected CAST SE data. SE documents, which will be numbered S4XX, have boilerplate language clearly stating that the document is not an FAA OpSpec, that completion is voluntary, and that the FAA digital signature only represents acceptance of the data and not an authorization or approval. The “S” section is intended to gather critical information about the voluntary implementation of these SEs.

B.    SE Implementation Status. All part 121 certificate holders will be asked to voluntarily provide their implementation status of these SEs, the method of implementation, the process to evaluate the implementation, and any other information, such as best practices and comments. The tracking of voluntary implementation of the CAST SEs will allow for accurate estimations of risk reduction. In addition, the S4XX tracking process will increase awareness of these enhancements to the certificate holders and FAA inspectors. PIs should include the appropriate CAST SEs in conversations with their assigned certificate holders and encourage certificate holder participation in applicable measures.

NOTE:  Since certificate holders voluntarily supply the information under the CAST provisions, PIs should not make safety or compliance assessments from these answers. Also, because the SEs are not required by FAA regulation, certificate holders, crewmembers, and manufacturers have wide discretion when they implement them. However, if the FAA and CAST do not receive the information, it will deprive CAST of the opportunity to gather data regarding the extent to which these SEs have been implemented by air carriers.

C.    Work Instructions. Either the PI or the air carrier can move an S4XX document to the “Workspace” in WebOPSS. If the air carrier chooses to provide SE implementation information, the air carrier enters information to answer the questions in the document. The air carrier must select the “Certificate Holder applies...” option for the “Origin” when signing the document. The air carrier signature indicates that the information is complete and accurate. The PI then signs the document. The PI’s signature is required only for the purpose of moving the completed S4XX to the “Issued” column for de-identified CAST reporting. The PI signature line for these documents states, “The Operator submits the status of Safety Enhancements contained in this document.”

D.    De-Identified SE Information. Title 49 of the United States Code (49 U.S.C.)  40123 and 14 CFR part 193 protect the information provided by the certificate holders via S4XX in WebOPSS indefinitely. Withholding the information from disclosure is consistent with FAA safety responsibilities. To reach the FAA’s safety goal, the FAA must be able to evaluate the implementation and effectiveness of SEs identified through CAST. Thus, unlike OpSpecs, these SE documents in WebOPSS are not releasable via the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). The FAA may release de-identified S4XX aggregate data to the members of CAST to evaluate the effectiveness of SEs. The FAA will give de-identified information to CAST members who are government agencies only if each agency meets the requirements of part 193, 193.7(e). The FAA will give de‑identified information to CAST members that are not government agencies only if each member provides adequate assurance that it will protect the information from further release, and it will limit access to those with a need to know to carry out safety responsibilities.

1)    Certificate holders, crewmembers, and manufacturers are encouraged to provide information related to the implementation of CAST SEs directly to the FAA inspectors or other FAA employees designated to receive such information. In this way, the information protected under this process will be easily identified and distinguished from information the FAA receives from other sources.
Indicates new/changed information.
2)    CAST has identified many air carrier-related SEs in its current plan; an initial set of S4XX SEs has been made available, with future SEs (e.g., S401) planned for later revisions. Because implementation is voluntary, and may be different at the various certificate holders or manufacturers, CAST members agree that it is important to collect information to evaluate the level of implementation. This information will be invaluable in measuring CAST’s effectiveness in reducing the fatal accident rate and reducing future risk in civil aviation. The S4XX documents seek to collect data specific to SEs for part 121 operations and maintenance procedures, such as avoiding turbulence injuries and standard operating procedures (SOP).
Indicates new/changed information.
3)    S4XX documents are not available through standard WebOPSS reports, such as National Paragraph Viewer. The certificate holder and their certificate management office (CMO) can access the specific responses to S4XX by the certificate holder.

E.    More Information. Each SE has a Detailed Implementation Plan (DIP) outlining the elements of the SE. CAST SEs can be found at the following website: http://www.skybrary.aero/index.php/Category:CAST_SE_Plan. For questions regarding operations-related SEs, contact the Air Transportation Division (AFS-200); for airworthiness SEs, contact the Aircraft Maintenance Division (AFS‑300).

3-18-12-5 through 3-18-12-19 RESERVED.